As a rather unhip child, I was pretty late to the party that was having a LiveJournal account — but not so late that I didn't reap most of its awkward pubescent benefits. If MySpace was the precursor to Facebook, then LiveJournal was undoubtedly the precursor to Tumblr. It was an anonymous, fandom-infested free-for-all, where your blog could be anything you wanted it to be: a sounding board for all your angst, a way to stay in touch with your squad, a place to wring out your nerdy, Harry Potter -obsessed heart. It also smacks of modern day Tumblr because, much like Tumblr, when you first got it, you had no idea how to use it — and of course, everybody on the site was all too ready to call you out for it, internet teeth bared.
But whatever. We survived, and lived to tell the HTML-ridden tale. I now look fondly back on the days when I used to shove my tech-savvy friend in front of the family desktop computer so she could show me how the hell to italicize text in my posts to an account that definitely had the word "accio" in the screen name (outting myself as the most #basic of basic nerds). It was imperative to my growth and development as a dorky teen, because how else could I have expressed myself if not through all the weird things I definitely posted on my LiveJournal page?
The Precursor To Vaguebooking And Subtweeting
It was the 15-year-old equivalent of Paris Hilton's, "She knows what she did." You passive-aggressively talked about that one friend who hurt your precious feelings, or that one kid at school that got your angsty little heart a-flutter. You wrote it hoping they would never see it, but also secretly hoping they would see it, realize it was about them, and play out some fantasy wherein they beg for forgiveness/confess that they have loved you all along/realize you are the best thing that has ever happened to them, and thank god your LJ post woke them up to the real sauce truth.
Your Super Cultured, Highly Selective Fanmixes
They were either based on your current OTP or whatever sh*t storm was going on in your life at the moment. My last mix post, I am ashamed to admit, was themed ~rocky relationships~, and if you think I didn't commit with a full on photoshopped cover and italicized, fully lower case lyrics under every song title, you are WRONG, and also about to be deeply ashamed in teenage me. (If it was post-2005 and there wasn't a Jack's Mannequin song on there it didn't count.)
Your #Deep, Life-Living Manifestos
Before there was Facebook to assault everyone's eyeballs with the ~revelation~ you just had in 300 words, there was LiveJournal, a place where you felt free to do it in 1,000. There were no parents on here to poke around and call you out on your nonsense, either (unless you, like me, were dumb enough to leave it open on the family desktop before hitting "post" — bless my dumb ass baby self).
Your Fan Fiction
Oohhhhh, the fan fiction. The anon fan fiction. I have some very vivid and excruciating memories of responding to many prompts on an anonymous Star Trek chain that I honestly could not find again to save my own damn life, and the crap I posted in there would probably make Chelsea Handler blush.
An Occasional Super Normal, Very Cliché Journal Entry
The first guy I ever "dated" (we close-mouthed kiss like three times, guys!) had an LJ, and it was like, an actual journal. He wrote about finding a turtle on the side of the road. It was simultaneously the most boring and fascinating study of the human condition I had ever seen.
My friend posted a picture of John McCain's head photoshopped onto Sandra Bullock's body in the Miss Congeniality poster for reasons that must have made a lot of sense back in 2008. LiveJournal was also one of the very first places we ever saw the infamous ~~GIF~~.
All The Sh*t You Didn't Want Your Parents To See
LiveJournal was only called LiveJournal because ComplainAboutYourParentsJournal.com was to much for our existentially fraught teenage brains to remember. But oh, complain we did. High school was hard! Parents didn't get it! We couldn't wait to be grown ups who did stuff differently! (But also please continue to feed and clothe and unconditionally love us, #thanksbye.) *hits publish*.
The "Wow I Haven't Posted In Awhile" Post
In my friend groups, all of our collective last posts were something along the lines of, "Wow, haven't done this in awhile! College is nice. There is food here. We did a sports, and we lost. Miss you all, LJ friends!! Let's post on here more!" And then ... many, many years of radio silence.
Images: Pexels; Giphy